Press Secretary Resigns, Genetic Treatment For Leukemia Recommended, Grilling Like A Pro

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned this morning. We find out what’s behind his decision and whether it will change White House communications. An F.D.A. advisory panel recommended a new, genetic treatment for leukemia. An expert in bioethics talks with us about the road the treatment has yet to travel and how it might change the larger fight against cancer. Summer grilling season is at its peak! For Food Friday, we get tips on grilling and smoking meat to perfection.

Featured in this Show

  • Financier Scaramucci In As White House Communications Director, Spicer Out As Press Secretary

    It was announced today that Anthony Scaramucci, Financier and Senior Adviser to President Trump, would take over as the White House Communications Director. On the heels of the Scaramucci’s appointment, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced he’d be resigning from his position. We’ll speak with Mike Wagner of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Journalism and Communications Department about the news.

  • F.D.A. Panel Recommends Genetic Treatment For Leukemia

    For the first time, an F.D.A. panel recommended that the agency approve a genetic treatment for Leukemia. An expert in bioethics shares details about the treatment and the path it has yet to travel before it becomes available to patients.

  • FDA Ushers In New Era Of Medicine After Recommending Approval Of Gene-Altering Treatment

    Scientists and medical ethicists have deliberated genetic treatments for serious illness for some time now, but it wasn’t until this month that a Food and Drug Administration panel recommended approving the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s cells.

    The treatment, created by Swiss drug company Novartis, is for a specific kind of leukemia. University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of law and bioethics Alta Charo said the type of treatment is known as CAR-T therapy, where a patient’s T cells are modified in a laboratory so that they can fight disease.

    “What the physicians have done in these studies is remove the cells from the patient’s body, then use so-called ‘gene editing’ — which is the latest form of genetic engineering — to alter those cells in a way that makes them better at targeting cancer cells, and then re-introducing those cells into the patient’s body, where these now-edited cells will go find cancer cells and kill them,” Charo said.

    The FDA has only recommended approving the treatment for people between ages 3 and 25. Novartis presented the FDA with evidence from a study of 63 patients who received the treatment during 2015 and 2016. Fifty-two of them went into remission, and 11 others died.

    With a success rate of more than 80 percent, the treatment is doing well, but Charo pointed out the sample size is still small, deaths did occur, and there is still additional research going into the treatment.

    “This is not some kind of magic bullet yet. For those that had a remission or a cure, there were also some very serious side effects, (which) the company Novartis and other researchers are working hard to study,” Charo said.

    Charo said she thinks it’ll take years before the treatment becomes more widely available to patients who need it. But she does believe the highly personalized, gene-editing treatment is going to be part of what will be one of the biggest waves in medicine in this century.

    “It’s personalized medicine in the extreme, but it is not turning the person into a commodity,” Charo said. “It’s learning how to manipulate their cells to become drugs and curative devices.”

  • How To Grill And Smoke Meat Like A Pro

    The grill is hot. Now what? At the final stretch of backyard barbecue season, a chef gives tips and tricks on how to grill and smoke meat to perfection.

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Dean Knetter Producer
  • Kate Archer Kent Producer
  • Mike Wagner Guest
  • R. Alta Charo Guest
  • Dave Heide Guest

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